New Arnav Pirep

This is really a preliminary pirep, as I have only had the opportunity to try out the unit on a 10 minute taxi. However, the differences are so pronounced, I think there is certainly enough to give an initial report.

-The graphics quality, and apparent resolution improvement is much better than I had expected. Comparing to the evolution of laptop monitors, I’d characterize it as a couple of generation jump. Personally, I don’t think the pictures on their web site nearly do it justice.

-A number of subtle changes were made that collectively make it easier to use. Easy declutter option. Engine page has fuel remaining, which I don’t recall being on the other version.

-One major enhancement, which was a gripe of mine on the other unit, is that on the map page with the other info stacked on the left (leaning info for example), the automatic revert to engine monitor page if oil temp or pressure is off, is now operational. Used to be that that only worked if the left stack wasn’t displayed.

-Only minor gripe is that with all the new resolution, zooming in or out takes significantly longer. They do have a feature where you can do a couple of zooms at once, thereby eliminating the time for each step.

At this point, I’m very enthused about the new Arnav. I haven’t seen the Avidyne, so I can’t make a comparison to that. Versus the former model, it’s a very big step up in my opinion.


If you don’t mind sharing the info, what was the total bill for the upgrade? How long did the whole process take? Did you have to wait for the software and then go back to the service center to have it installed or did they have the new Arnav and the new software ready when you did the install?

Spent 2 hours with ARNAV Rev V910AH. 30 minutes with avionics mechanic getting tutored on engine monitoring and upgrade; 30 minutes taxiing and long run-up, 30 minutes flying with engine monitoring page only, 30 minutes navigating VFR (and holding outside class D airspace waiting for tower to sort out chaos after another plane declared a smoke-in-cockpit emergency).

By coincidence, my ARVAV was upgraded and just about to be shipped back when they released software, so it came installed. Had Engine Monitoring installed at the same time so here are my initial reactions.

  • WOW!

  • Color graphics are huge improvement, so is resolution

  • Blue lakes made VFR dead reckoning EXCITING (great passenger entertainment!)

  • Info from engine monitoring very fascinating (odd CHT4 temps!)

  • Refresh times are slower overall and very slow with terrain mapping (overtaxed CPU, eh?)

  • Menus and operations are different, so expect a learning curve

Initial assessment: Rev H upgrade was worth $2,000 expense.

Some detailed reactions:

  • Startup is VERY DIFFERENT

The ARNAV expects GPS location info BEFORE it displays the map. My mechanic claimed to have been told “don’t touch a menu button until GPS acquires satellites or ARNAV will crash/restart!” Didn’t really test that. But some information WILL NOT DISPLAY until the GPS provides TRACK INFO. For instance, the waypoint data block and Terrain Obstruction Proximity Warning System (TOPS) block do not display and could not be found in any menu until you activate a GPS direct-to or flight plan, when they just appear! Also, it takes longer. And engine monitoring startup may be confusing things for me.

  • Patience is REQUIRED

Learn how to set up the display the way you like it and then plan to leave it like that. Upgrading the display resolution and terrain/blue-lake presentation clearly taxes the CPU power. Refresh rates to menu changes seem to be at least 2-3 seconds, even without terrain displayed when it took from 4-8 seconds. Playing with the ARNAV options and seeing it take a long time to refresh creates more frustration on the ground than I experienced flying with it. However, in a crisis, the Garmins refresh much faster and the Sandel is almost instantaneous.

  • No pointer to select airport info block; navaid/airspace info gone

The only way to get information about an airport is to key in the alphanumeric name. “ID Completion” works well, but is different behavior than Garmin. [See my user-interface-design comments below.]

  • Declutter options are well chosen, just slow to switch

Declutter options are DC-0: terrain and everything; DC-1: remove terrain; DC-2: remove water; DC-3: navigation only. Initial impressions were that terrain was great for VFR dead-reckoning, passenger entertainment, and possibly IFR approach (didn’t try it), but DC-1 would be easier for IFR en route because color info on black background provides much easier focus on key information (some stuff is hard to read when overlaid on green/yellow terrain).

  • User interface design still frustrates me

Flame on! Once upon a time, I was a professional in user interface design and some of the things that these avionics guys do really offends my sensibilities and professional practices. There are now 3 VERY DIFFERENT interfaces to controlling complex navigation and display technology: Garmin twist-and-click, Sandel click-only, and ARNAV click-click-click… And worse, ARNAV CHANGED the menu system and system operation A LOT from rev V910AG to V910AH, so you have to UNLEARN where things were because some are now gone or under different menus. Oh yeah, the use of saturated colors sometimes creates color contrast effects. Flame off!

Bottom line: First impressions are enthusiastic thumbs up! (With a few grumbles… The improvements are worthy of some learning, sigh!)

I’m looking forward to my weekend San Diego-Dallas-Chicago flight to spend time learning to love my upgraded ARNAV display.


Total cost was about $2,000. Had the unit shipped to Arnav during annual in late April. Upgraded unit shipped back quickly, but without software upgrade. Arnav shipped software and engine monitor module (for exchange) yesterday, which arrived today. Installation was pretty quick - I’ll see if I was charged for that. (Software swap was easy - monitor was a little more time consuming.)

Not a smooth as it could have been, but not too bad considering “two-step” process.


I got my software yesterday as well…put it in…did the tests and WHAMO…NOTHING AT ALL on start-up. I got a hold of ARNAV and they said a few others called today …did the correct install and the unit just didn’t turn on.
Just my luck, right?
Anyway, they talked me through the re-install of my old card but had to dis-connect the engine monitoring for some reason. Supposedly, they Fed-Exed another card for today but cautioned me the whole MFD may have to go back.
At least I have a display thru the Holiday…
Have a great Mem. Day weekend


Don, really sorry for your misfortune. Understanding how anxious I was to get my unit, you must of really been disappointed.

Did you get the hardward upgrade? Wondering why some worked and some didn’t - maybe software works in new hardware but not old.

Good luck.